The US Air Force has successfully launched the Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The rocket, in support of national defence, was launched from Space Launch Complex-3.

United Launch Alliance launched the mission aboard an Atlas V 501 using a 5.4m diameter, 77ft-long, Ruag composite payload fairing.

The rocket was powered by a single common core booster using the RD Amross RD-180 engine and a Centaur upper stage using a single Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL-10A engine.

Vandenberg Air Force Base launched a Minotaur IV carrying the first space-based space surveillance satellite on 25 September 2010 from Space Launch Complex-8.